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Posts from the ‘On Writing’ Category

8 Grammar Jokes To Start Your Day Off Right

It’s a special breed of person who enjoys a good grammar joke.

And I believe many of you, like me, are fond of them.

So if you keep a copy of Strunk and White on your desk, today’s post is for you.

Here’s 8 pretty darn good grammar jokes.  Read more


1 Easy Tip To Help You Edit Better

Most of you guys are writers like me.

We write in our spare time, at work, on blogs, on our manuscripts. And, sometimes, it’s difficult to get a quality editor to help out after you’ve finished your work. Maybe you don’t have the extra income to pay a freelancer, or maybe you just don’t know how to go about getting one. And, let’s be honest, your buddy Joe is literate–good for him–but he’s not an editor.

So what do you do?

Here’s one very easy tip to make you a better editor.

It could be life-changing. Probably not.

But it’s so simple you’re going to be mad at me for making an entire post about it.

So what is it? What one tip will make you a better editor?

Here you go. It’s this: Read more

5 Things I’ve Learned From 5 Years Of Blogging

I don’t know how long the average blog lasts—maybe a few months? 101 Books has been around for five years and, as blogs go, that’s pretty ancient. It’s like the Bush, Clinton, Kennedy families in politics—whether you like it or not, we never go away!

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things. Most of them by accident. When I started the blog, I just wanted to start a reading blog—more specifically, a reading blog that follows this little reading journey with the Time Magazine list.

I’ve screwed up a lot, but I’ve had a few wins too. And, today, I want to tell you a little about both. Here’s 5 things I’ve learned in my 5 years of blogging at 101 Books. Read more

Salman Rushdie On His Writing Process

Over the years, I’ve posted many excerpts from The Paris Review’s interviews with famous authors.

I love these interviews because they not only focus on authors and their novels, but they also dig into the writing process itself. And I’ve always enjoyed reading how world-class novelists go about their jobs. It’s fascinating.

Let’s take a look at Salman Rushdie’s writing process: Read more

7 Chuckle-Worthy Oxymorons

It’s Monday, y’all. I just got back from vacation.

I’m not even sure what my name is, much less prepared to write a thorough blog post.

So here’s a fun image from my friends at Grammarly.

Seven Chuckle Worthy Oxymorons. Read more

Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules For Writing Fiction

The Guardian published White Teeth author Zadie Smith’s 10 rules for writing in 2010, and they’re pretty awesome.

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
  3. Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
  4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
  5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
  6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
  7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.
  8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
  9. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
  10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.

Read more

Start With The Ending

* This is a repost from 2012 when I was reading Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust. As I’m now finishing up Brideshead Revisited, I thought it was still relevant. Great insight here from Waugh. 

One of the best writing tips I’ve heard for novelists goes something like this: “Know the ending before you start.”

I love that. It just makes sense. That’s not to say there isn’t other ways to write a novel. I know many authors take the “go where the characters lead” approach. But it just seems much easier to know where you’re going before you start.

With A Handful of Dust, Evelyn Waugh took that approach, which he explained in an interview with The Paris Review in 1962.

Read more

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